Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Paranoid or knowledgeable?

I'm feeling a bit like my son today. He's 17, and he tends to be a bit, um, catastrophically paranoid. He believes that the Republicans want to take over the world. Usually, I try to calm him, remind him that Democrats were in power just a few short years ago and, voters willing, will be again.

But I start to get a bit paranoid myself these days, with all the talk of our need to be rescued by the military. First, Bush floated an idea last week that the military should take a lead role in responding and managing natural disasters. It didn't get a whole lot of attention, though several Governors responded negatively to it. Senator Mary Landrieu suggested that "we do have a democracy and a citizenship that has elected mayors, county commissioners and governors particularly. I'm not sure the governors association or all the mayors in America would be willing to step aside."

Uh huh. Josh Marshall nailed the problems with this approach:

"You don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent. . . . The Army clearly has an important role to play in major domestic disasters. And they've been playing it in this case. But what broader role was required exactly? . . . The direction the president wants to go in is one in which, in emergencies, the federal government will have trouble moving water into or enabling transportation out of the disaster zone but will be well-equipped to declare martial law on a moment's notice."

So this week, Bush pushes the plan again. This time, he frames it around responding to a possible pandemic from the avian flu. Apparently, the federal government is about to announce a plan for dealing with a possible pandemic flu. Bush said he'd consider using the military to quarantine people if such an event occurred. He also put on the table the notion that National Guard troops should be under federal, not state, control in such situations. And he suggested that the president
be vested with the power to take such control.

Frightening. Please tell me that someone else finds this frightening, besides those of us out here in the liberal blogosphere. First the Patriot Act. Now this? A proposed solution that makes no sense, will not solve any problem other than the lack of power Dubya would like to hold but doesn't?

If you've read much about the avian flu, you know quarantine isn't an effective way to stop outbreaks. Great piece here with good ideas that don't involve the military for dealing with an outbreak. All quarantine would be good for is controlling the population. And surely that's not what Bush has in mind? Is it?

For more good information on the current avian flu (H5N1 virus), check my blog entry on the topic. If you do a search on the BBC news site, you'll come up with lots of relevant, Bush-free information on the topic, as well.

For information on Bush plans to take over the world, just keep reading and listening to the news with a discerning mind.

Until tomorrow,


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